Nov 17, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Willie Snead (83) tries to catch a pass during the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers defeated the Saints 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
For the second straight week, the top ranked Saints offense turned the ball over on consecutive first half possessions and went into the locker room with only 3 points on the scoreboard.
To be fair, the defenses of Denver (last week) and Carolina are among the best in the league; and even a truly elite offense like the Saints cannot put a low-ranked and undermanned defense (theri own) in such poor field position as often as they have and expect to be in a realistic spot to win the game against good teams.
After getting torched for over 460 yards through the air a month ago, it was obvious that the Panthers game plan was to prevent the Saints offense from getting anything down the field by dropping 6 and sometimes even 7 defenders into coverage and relying on their talented front line to generate pressure.
The plan was highly successful, and the Saints receivers failed to get any separation and were non-factors in this game. The trio of Cooks, Thomas and Snead did combine for 16 receptions, but only 143 yards and no touchdowns.
If not for the pass catching of Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower, as well as the Herculean performance of Hightower in the 4th quarter after Ingram left due to concussion protocol; this offense would have been completely irrelevant.
With the 10 days off now between games, expect Brees and his young receivers to study the film from this contest last night, HARD.